Release date: 17 February 2022
Back cover blurb: 'So that was all it took,' I thought. 'That was all it took for me to feel like I had all the power in the world. One morning, one moment, one yellow-haired boy. It wasn't so much after all.' Chrissie knows how to steal sweets from the shop without getting caught, the best hiding place for hide-and-seek, the perfect wall for handstands. Now she has a new secret. It gives her a fizzing, sherbet feeling in her belly. She doesn't get to feel power like this at home, where food is scarce and attention scarcer. Fifteen years later, Julia is trying to mother her five-year-old daughter, Molly. She is always worried - about affording food and school shoes, about what the other mothers think of her. Most of all she worries that the social services are about to take Molly away. That's when the phone calls begin, which Julia is too afraid to answer, because it's clear the caller knows the truth about what happened all those years ago. And it's time to face the truth: is forgiveness and redemption ever possible for someone who has killed?
I must be honest, and admit that I struggled with the first quarter of this book, until something just seemed to click in to place for me. It is a difficult read with often harrowing subject matter, but it is an important book nonetheless.
Chrissie is a neglected young girl, often left to fend for herself with no clean clothes and no food. Unloved and uncared for, she can often be found wandering the streets, or picking select friends to 'play' with, because she knows that she will be fed, or at the very least be able to have some sweets.
She is afraid of nothing, and no one, even brazenly stealing from the local shop so that she can get her hands on sweets, defying the shopkeeper, and confirming her own thoughts that she is 'bad'. Chrissie understands that being bad makes her feel powerful, a feeling that she doesn't get at home.
A feeling that leads to her act in a terrifying manner with tragic consequences...
Julia is a scared first time Mum, scared of messing up, and scared of the authorities due to her unconventional upbringing. Although she is scared that they may take her daughter away, she doesn't feel that she should be. She feels that she deserves to be punished for a terrible crime she committed when she was younger, and that justice will finally be served.
She is unable to forgive herself, so why should anyone else?
The First Day of Spring is a remarkable book, recommended but with a word of caution-it's not for the easily disturbed.
The First Day of Spring is available now via Amazon online and all good book shops.
Thank You to the publishers who approved my request via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.